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Us 8, Embarcadero 5, Boston 5, Paris 4, San Francisco 3, Seattle 3, Europe 2, New York 2, Oakland 2, Jack 1, Compleated 1, Bart 1, Michael Burns 1, Seaferz 1, At&t 1, Stein 1, Jack Toumy 1, Staffing 1, San Jose 1, The Alameda 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    November 12, 2012
    9:00 - 9:30am PST  

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makes this report more germane is the fact that is muni's 100 anniversary to commemorate the mile stein they adopted the logo "the people's system". it seems if you're going to be the people's system you need to live up to this on lofty label. my fellow jurors that worked on the report will focus on the findings. the first findings find that the switchbacks violate the san francisco charter and guarantees safe and reliable transit service to riders. i won't ask to you raise your hands but just thinking how many of you have taken muni in the last week, or ride muni regularly. if you have and if you do you're probably still subject to switchbacks and understand how
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deeply the experience can under mine your trust in the system. our fellow juror who was planning present today had to leave due to another appointment, and so i'm going to read her report because i think it's important if you're not a muni rider to understand the whole switch back and what the experience is, so she has had since april -- since actually muni has said they have discontinued or cut back on switchbacks she has been subject to three of them even though she's not a regular muni rider. these are descriptions of her experiences. in early april i boarded -- by the way her name is gene and i will be reading hers. at some point the driver
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announced something on the pa system. the sound had static and he had an accent and i couldn't understand what he said and the other riders didn't show great concern. when he began announcing again i asked a later near me and she wasn't sure but maybe getting off on 36th avenue. i road to 26th avenue where my car was and stopped at 36th avenue and had all the passengers, 25 -- not an age but number, get off and stand in the rain to wait for another car whichn 't in sight. another time i recall being involved in a switch back i boarded a train at at&t park when the giants were home and playing. hey giants. i got off at the
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embarcadero station to wait for out bound in bound train. when i looked at the schedule board it said the next one would be 45 minutes. there were several people waiting and we continued to wait as 2m and 2k cars and j and t cars went by. i realized those with me were also waiting for n car. i called three one one which is a wonderful efficient customer service related system. i was given someone i was told taking calls related to muni. he said he knew nothing about a delay in n cars had he had not been informed or received calls about any delay. as he was checking in and an inbound n car went past me towards the ballpark
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and the cal train. i told that to the three one one operator and by the time it came back to the embarcadero station after being by the ballpark and the people waiting patiently except for me at the embarcadero station would do well to get on the train much less get a seat. he was a pol gettic and he assured me he noted my call. within five minutes an out bound train came in to the embarcadero station empty. the schedule indicated it would be more than 30 minutes to the next out bound train and by the time this train got to powell street station it was full and more people each stop after. since the three one one operator knew nothing about a problem and meant all those people didn't call because they didn't expect to get any better service. number three, another
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more recent time i boarded in train at third avenue and the signage said it was only going to church street. i got on and the driver said in a clear voice on a clear pa system that the train would go only to church street. at every stop he informed the new passengers that boarded. i thought this is great. everything's working as it should. if they do a switch back. when we got to church street the train was full with many people standing and we were told to get off and go oat another means of transport. i was one of the last to get off and some people started getting on. i told them this train is not going to the embarcadero. they replied "it is". they changed it. at this point more than half of the passengers were gone
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and the train left embarcadero with half of the passengers and most had gone on to seek other means to the embarcadero or the ballpark. when i ask people about switchbacks they all know and say it's a common occurrence. when muni says they rarely use switch back it's incredulous. they feel it's a common experience in their muni experience as it is mine. now we will switch back to me. what i want to say one of the main findings in the report is the fact that out of all the transit systems we interviewed only one used switchbacks as muni does to -- >> can i interrupt you and ask you about that? >> yes. >> perhaps i missed it, but can you talk a little bit about the other jurisdictions that you spoke with? >> you know what we're going to have in jack's report -- he's going to talk about how we
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chose the other jurisdictions. >> great. >> and jack and i interviewed them together and some of the other jurors joined in on the interviews but our selection was based on the controller's report that compared systems and we selected the list from the controller and contacted those systems. we were also told that all of the systems in europe use switchbacks as a tool, so we took advantage of a vacation to contact three systems in paris, and speak to representative who knew about those three systems. we then confirmd that interview in a phone call with some emails. >> great. >> so let's have jack come up because he can talk to you
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about the story of our interviews, why we conducted them and some of the information we got from those interviews. >> thank you. and as sharon mentioned when we do our interviews we have two people present and make records of them, so in doing so to continue we spent ten months of our subsequent investigations investigating the muni. during this time muni management continued to insist that using switchbacks as a traffic smoothing tool was good for the majority passengers, yet digging deeper the civil grand jury discovered in fact that the muni had no evidence one way or another about the use or abuse of switchbacks. this was because as many managers
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repeatedly told us switch backs are commonly and frequently used in other transportation systems around the world. according to one manager" they're part of transportation 101 and a basic tool for traffic". did they spend up buss and trains? did they make service more reliable? as it was clear muni was not interested in our investigation we asked muni officials for names of the other systems that use switchbacks for other emergency situations. they respond they couldn't name such systems and they didn't need to because they knew for a fact "all other systems use switch backs in this way".
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after hearing the same answer for the ten months of our investigation we were taken aback in august, 2012, just a few months ago, to read in the newspaper that muni reported that they interviewed five other systems and found that they all used switchbacks to smooth traffic. in september of 2011 we decided if muni would not provide us with other transit agencies to speak to we would have to find them ourselves. fortunately the san francisco controller did a study and comparing muni to five other systems these cities included boston, seattle, new york, oakland and san jose or santa clara mta. they all had higher scores than muni. muni was on the bottom. we included
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bart. since they said other systems did it we decided to look at the systems in paris france. it took months to identify the right officials and in this case either the head of operations or the systems schedulinger all but one which was new york agreed to an extensive interview by two of us and per the rules we were not identified. nevertheless of the interviews as described in the report were significant. all transit systems it became clear had multiple systems that were similar and had challenges and all needed to deal with complex traffic, scheduling, and terrain problems uniquely their own, and yet as we had known the san
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francisco controller's survey had shown all had higher reliability and rider seaferz than muni and we determined that all systems use switchbacks they only did so in cases of equipment break down or emergencies except for one. one system which happened to be the santa clara mta does use switch backs and interestingly enough their head is the former employee of muni, michael burns, who was a former employee and went to work for them. as you supervisors may remember he was the one that took bonuses for all sorts of things he really wasn't able to do for muni and increasing time and got these bonuses. what also struck us was the amazement of the operation officers if they employed switchbacks? what we heard over and over again are the comments that swism backs
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were an insult to riders. they also pointed out that switchbacks couldn't speed up traffic because of the time boarding and deboarding. what struck home was the attitude of the managers in their own system. in virtually all cases they took responsibility for ensuring the responsibility of the system and work improve their services and rider surveys and constantly adjusting their schedules. i under line that. constantly adjusting their schedules. virtually everyone told us schedules was the most effective tool and many felt the additional time to load and unload vehicles slowed service. the managers that we interviewed also volunteered that the daily actions and programs taken guaranteed that service was
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reliable and all were under surkaled budgets and these solutions need to be cost effective. we were impressed with the cado attitude of management and staff and make sure that needs were met and some ininstituted apps and allows passages to see where vehicles were at all times and other coordinated lights to speed up service. we came away convinced if muni instituted a portion of those suggestions there could be increase in the speed of the system and rider satisfaction as well as lower cost. coming away from the interviews we were eegtory show our findings with muni to see how many suggestions would be tried. unfortunately when jurors attempted to engage with
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muni as per our charter responsibility we were met with stale rhetoric and managers had speeches and suggested the problems were impossible to fix and not in the term of our time. next we were allowed to negotiate with officials and ask a meeting with the scheduling muni manager. we were told that position was currently empty. adding insult to injury it wasn't midpoint in the investigation that we came across a statement from them and tep and transit effective project and shared with us and compleated in 2008 and list of solutions similar to those proposed by transportation consultants with whom we spoke.
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the muni managers we finally did speak with shared the fact that the 2008tep plan has been halted to budgetary concerns and was now only being partially implemented. in our report we acknowledge the resurrection of 2008tep as a step forward from muni and encouraged the expansion of it to speed up muni and ways to avoid switchbacks. in summary the 2011-2012 grand jury conducted a survey of other systems and four of which had higher rider satisfaction ratings than muni. we found that the use of switchbacks was not a commonly used practice of all systems and rejected by the managers who felt they're an sult to passengers and rather
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the other systems use variety and easy and low cost practices to ensure rider satisfaction. many are similar to those identified in muni's 2008 effectiveness transit project. unfortunately although it has been resurrected it hasn't been updated and recommendations are only being implemented selectively. thank you. >> thank you. just a quick question and thank you for giving the report and no wonder i recognize you in the hall there. how many jurisdictions did you talk to? >> well, we emailed and talked to people in paris because they did comment on our initial go around that everybody in the world uses switch backs and we can emphatically and categorically tell you it's not a smoothing tool for their
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systems in france. we talked to the people in seattle and boston and the san jose and santa clara area. am i leaving any out? >> [inaudible] >> and we also talked to bart. >> [inaudible] >> boston, seattle, yes. new york didn't speak to us. san jose, santa clara, yes. >> [inaudible] >> oakland is the ac. yes. the transit system, the alameda county system and they said emphatically we believe it's an insult to use the switchbacks other than for emergencies and break downs. >> got it. in each of the jurisdictions none of them use switchbacks for traffic smoothing. >> correct. except the one in san jose santa clara who got
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one of our ex-operation managers, a mr. burns. >> got it. all right. thank you very much. >> thanks jack. we have another jack, jack toumy and another grand jury member and summarizing the findings. he will go over our recommendations and again with the responses of the sfmta and the mayor. since the mayor's responses were identical to muni they will be discussed simultaneously. jack. >> hello there. f1, switchbacks violate the spirit of the city charter. the muni said that customers are concerned with on time performance and liability.
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switchbacks contract to these goals. we. >> >> answer that this response does not really address the findings. the finding was about the spirit of the city charter. page three of the report lists the six goals for muni in proposition e from 1999. muni makes unsubstageiated statement that switchbacks increase the reliability of the system. unfortunately they have presented no evidence whatsoever this is true or riders are not negatively impacted from switchbacks. f2, little interest in finding alternatives to switchbacks. muni says our infrastructure limits us in available techniques. this is followed by a list of techniques and move scheduled trains up
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and "all alternatives have impacts on first passengers". the response the able techniques we listed in our report have been used by other systems. they do not have a negative impact on service reliability because they rely on proactive best practices and good plans in order to speed service. dead heading and moving up the schedule are techniques similar to switchbacks in that they're symptomatic and arbitrary and disrupting to passengers and without increasing the speed and the reliability of the system. f3, no evidence that switchbacks will alleviate delay and service. muni relies there is overall ample evidence to this service. our response "if you be so kind please show us -- the mayor and the board of
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supervisors, whatever evidence you have". f4, muni officials show calious disregard to the welfare of riders. muni responds "we don't order switch back unless one is meritd and reduce the impact on customers" and there is response to f1 about on time performance and reliability, and then they site there were only 82 switch backs that occurred in july of 2012 and this is down from the 200 to 400 which they say are quoted in the grand jury report. they state that switch backs are heavily concentrated in off beat times and towards the end of a route. 95% occur when another train is less than five minutes behind. the jury answers. the
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jury obtained the numbers about switch backs from muni officials. we didn't make them up. we were not given information about the concentration of switchbacks and there are no third party observations to confirm muni's belief that riders are not negatively impacted. we believe that rider surveys are needed in order to verify whether the switch backs and other disruptive practices impact passengers. f5 and f6 are both about the comparison to other cities, and muni said "all operators cited in the report operate exclusively on private right-of-ways. muni does not. muni lists five systems that use switch backs in regular transportation" and they said that bart and boston mta use switch backs in the same way
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and f.d six improvements and alleviate switchbacks with this. the jury responds, "the jury asked muni officials several times to provide a list with transit operators to verify the assertion that it's the industry standard. muni kept repeating a generalization and gave up with a list of the controller and of the five other transit operators. the jury assumes that the controller did not cherry pick these five cities and or transit operations. the jury added bart and the paris systems since muni alleged the practice was common in europe. of all the city systems the jury interviewed only santa clara valley transit association
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supported muni. at the end of the term muni received the report two days before it went public. in those two days apparently muni came up with a list of five like minded transit systems. the jury asks how many other systems did you contact during those two days? did you do some cherry picking? we were also like to know how these unreported systems f any, responded to the question? as far as bart and boston mbta are reviewed they stand by their results. muni officials talk out of both of their mouth. on one side they talk about switchbacks as a common transit system and a procedure that could rise to the procedure of best practice. the other side
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talks about their effort to reduce the switch backs and alleviate their effect on the public. why this second side? because in reality they're close to a worse practice. muni -- okay. f7. muni fails to fully implement technological improvements. muni says -- they give us a list -- muni gave us a list of improvements that are under way. they say these will reduce the need for switchbacks. the jury answers, "the jury appreciates the efforts being made. we are glad some of these are partially accomplished and others coming in the future. many systems we interviewed had these technologys in place. we would like muni to have a sense of urgency about the improvements and concerned about the term "under way" and completion dates that are years
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away" . on f8 which concerns a new control center lacking adequate operating personnel and f9 muni has failed to conduct and publish rider survey and muni agreed with both of these findings. as far as the recommendations, the first recommendation is to eliminate switchbacks except when unavoidable. muni disagrees with the recommendation reasserting that switch backs are valid and necessary given the operating environment. they have worked on reducing the switchbacks and keeping the public informed and would further denigate service and safety. the jury answers, "that's what we're getting at that muni think it is switch backs are a normal way of
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business". other transportation systems were aghast, appalled that a transit system could inconvenience their customers so cavalierly and we want them to have the feeling that we are doing a good job" when they deem them unavoidable. recommendation two, contact and learn from paris not resorting to switchbacks regularly. muni agrees there is room for improvement and they will reach out to their peers to study their standard operating procedures but note the claim that others are using procedures similar to muni. the jury answers "the jury approves part of the response about contacting peers. we hope that you contact those systems that were on our
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list. these systems are seen by the controller as being similar to muni, and have higher reliability and passenger ratings than muni. if muni is going to strife for improvement and go for systems that do not justify a failed mentality. audit muni funds. the audit has control of the funds and working on tep. as the preferred avenue for service. the jury appreciates muni's response. next is train staff for controlled center. muni says staffing is under way for fiscal year 2013 to be completed by the end of the fiscal year and new communicat